GUS Poyet spent his 46th birthday watching his two main strikers draw an international blank at Glasgow’s Hampden Park last night.
Both Steven Fletcher and Jozy Altidore played 90 minutes for Scotland and the USA respectively and each would have been eager to impress their club manager watching on from the stands
But there was no happy returns for either as the sides played out a goalless draw, though both had chances.
The strikers were just two of eight Sunderland players on international duty last night and while Scotland and the USA were involved in a friendly, Seb Larsson was on the losing side in an important World Cup play-off qualifier against Portugal.
Cristiano Ronaldo gave his side victory with a goal in the 82nd minute but up until then his side had been frustrated by a disciplined Swedish side which had three times gone close to scoring - once from Larsson himself.
The two sides meet again on Tuesday in Sweden to see who will win the play-off contest.
The game of the night which boasted by some distance the most Sunderland connections was the Republic of Ireland’s 3-0 win over Latvia in Dublin.
Former Sunderland bosses Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane were in the home dugout as the Republic’s new manager and assistant manager, while Keiren Westwood was in goal, John O’Shea skippered the side and ex-Black Cat James McClean produced a Man of the Match display before being replaced by another former Sunderland player, Anthony Stokes.
Sunderland’s big summer signing Emanuele Giaccherini was an unused sub as Italy fought out a 1-1 draw in a friendly against Germany.
But there was better news for Ondrej Celustka who scored on his full international debut -the 24-year-old putting the Czech Republic ahead against Canada just three minutes into the game when he glanced a near-post header across goal from a free-kick.
And his team-mates worked hard to ensure that the Sunderland defender’s first international goal came in a home win - Petr Cech saving a Dwayne De Rosario penalty before Tomas Horova made sure of the friendly victory with the Czech’s second goal eight minutes from time.
Meanwhile Ki Sung-Yueng played the full 90 minutes and countryman Ji Dong-won was an unused sub as South Korea recorded their first back-to-back victories in 15 months with a victory over Switzerland.
The two Sunderland players were involved in a South Korean squad that went into the game as underdogs - Switzerland not having lost a game in 18 months - but eventually ran out 2-1 winners.
And Sunderland’s summer signing Charalampos Mavrias got on the scoresheet in the UEFA European Under 21 championship as the Greek Under 21s walloped Sweden Under 21s 5-1 with Mavrias getting his side’s second goal.